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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 18, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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actenberg. >> thank you, mr. chair. dr. meyer, i have next to me approximately 3,000 pages of recent reports, peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters which are already in the record of this proceeding and to which you have referred indirectly. these documents examine a range of issues related to the overall mental health of the lgbt community and with violence directed at sexual minority youth and many short and long-term negative outcomes suffered by targeted youth to which you have testified. the authors come from institutions including harvard medical school, columbia university, ucla, uc davis, and
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many other most reputable institutions. do you have an overall comment that you can make to this commission about this body of scholarship and the weight we should give this scholarship in our deliberation? >> yes. of course, i haven't read the 3,000 pages but the references that i provided as well as the articles that i could identify from your queue there are initialed peer reviewed top scientific journals. it's not easy to put an article out there after it's been reviewed by the editor and three our reviewers who are not necessarily friendly to the author. those articles went to very, very severe critical review. in my mind, having reviewed many of those articles in particular in the area of youth, the evidence is overwhelming on each
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of those three elements that are required to show causal relationships between the environment and some kind of health outcomes. and the three are, number 1, that you have to show that the group, in this case, sexual minority youth experienced more stressors, number 2 that they experienced more of the disorders that are purported to be caused by the stressors and number 3, that these are -- that the reason for the increase in rates of disorders are those stressors. this is going to be the analysis. in this particular evidence we have very, very strong evidence for each of those three elements. as i said before, using a variety of methods, a variety of samples, a variety of samples and analytical approaches and from institutions and investigators and to the kids
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now. >> the chair recognizes commissioner gaziano. >> i want to thank all of you but because our time is limited, i think i'll direct my question to former dean eastman because i wanted you to elaborate using an example from an ocr's recent dear colleague to illuminate this point that you made that the use of federal funding cannot be used as a pretext to invent new legal standards. we heard from assistant secretary ali that they only used funding or their power for sort of procedural issues and i would certainly concede -- i think we would all concede that the federal government could potentially require data to be submitted to show that they're actually living up to the standards of the civil rights laws but the example that i'd like you to apply is on april
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4th, the office of civil rights sent a letter to colleges and universities seeming to insist that they have a preponderance of the record -- preponderance of the evidence standard in student sexual harassment disciplinary proceedings. the only argument i could see in the ocr's letters this was the standard in title 7. to me it's profoundly troubling that they would borrow that standard where discovery is available, where an employer has control over its supervisors to the university context where students don't even have a right to know who accused them, don't have a right to see the statements, don't have a right of discovery but my question to you is, does ocr -- regardless who's right, whether that's good or bad, does ocr have the authority to read title 9 as requiring colleges or universities or is there any authority that ocr has to
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require colleges and universities to apply a preponderance of the evidence standard in student sexual harassment or rape allegations? >> i don't believe so and i should clarify that i'm here in my own capacity, not as the former dean at chatman university. we don't always speak within the same voice in a university as i'm sure many involved with the universities acknowledge. no, they don't. and the federal government generally is not supposed to be intruding on federal decisions unless they rise to a certain level. that's the test that comes under the 14th amendment and the court has also been very clear that we can't use the spending power to accomplish things that we don't have other authority to accomplish. what ocr seems to be doing here is using its conditions on spending in an effort to obtain a regulatory regime that they could not do directly. that congress itself could not do directly much less ocr.
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and now i'll give you another example from the dear colleague letter from last october. the standard that the supreme court sets out in the davis versus monroe county case in 1999 is deliberate indifference. intentional conduct by the school officials themselves, that to a hostile environment. that's the only time when it rises to the level of federal actionable conduct. the department of education's letter says instead of schools responsible for addressing harassing incidents about when it knows, you know, and knowledge is even lower than deliberative indifference or reasonably should have known that's a standard that the supreme court expressly rejected in the davis case. that that would adopt a somewhat expect standard for school officials. and in rejecting that, it said there should be a strong presumption in favor of deference to the school districts on how they respond to any of these kind of harassing conducts. and remember, most of this
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conduct when it crosses from mere speech over to physical violence is already actionable under state tort law and what have you. the notion that is sufficient to rise to the level of federal super very long was rejected by the supreme court in another significant case, united states versus morrison what i think the department is doing is expanding a regulatory regime that congress would not have the authority to pass on its own. >> i will asking a question and it will be commissioner yaki and commissioner titus. i want you to limit your movement it's a little distracting and it's important for us to stay up here and not direct questions to the panel unless it's in this open forum. although i know folks will have to get up at some point and i understand that if you could do that with the least amount of disruption, that'd be appreciated. professor clegg, you had mentioned in your comments --
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i'm sorry, mr. clegg, that you did not want to see an expansion of coverage for protections for lgbt, if i understand correctly, because you didn't want to see a whipsaw effect occurring but isn't it true that you could make that whipsaw argument for any effort to expand the protective classes in the past, whether it was race, national origin, disability status and should that be the standard by which we decide whether or not we're going to protect that our citizens and residents? >> i think that -- it's going to depend on the specific situation. let me take the most dramatic example. and that would be racial discrimination. there you had, you know, in the 50 years ago a situation where school systems and state governments were were themselves deliberately discriminating.
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they were not going to change that policy absent the intervention of the federal government. and in light of supreme court case law, as it was developing, it was very unlikely that there was going to be very much back and forth once the federal government intervened saying you cannot engage in racial discrimination. that's very different than the situation now. you don't have a situation now where school districts are deliberately harassing or bullying students on the basis of sexual orientation. the problem is one of student on student bullying and harassment. and there has been no showing here today that school districts are systemically uninterested or unsupportive of stopping that kind of bullying and harassment.
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the problem instead is one of line-drawing as i discussed in my statement and this has been discussed, you know, by this panel. that kind of nuanced line-drawing is something where reasonable people can differ. and where the people are going to draw the lines differently depending on local circumstances. and where getting the federal government involved, and saying that, no, this is -- you know, here are our fines. here's where you should draw the line, in one administration, will predict apply be a source of controversy. and will likely be changed when they say a liberal democratic administration is replaced by a conservative republican one. so i think the whipsaw discussions which is one of the things i identified here, why
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the federal government should not be involved in -- >> and i'll reserve my follow-up question if we have time at the end. i'll ask commissioner heriot to please ask her question. >> i'm not sure anybody is going to be able to answer my questions but ms. byard you're probably the best one. the emphasis is on training and not so much on punishment which kind of surprised me when i looked at the letter. the dear colleague letter repeatedly says that punishing bullies is not enough. that there's some need to train. i understand that glsen provides some of that training; is that right? [inaudible] >> in different parts of the country primarily professional development work with school staff, so we do. we have done that for the entire district, the city of rochester and other places.
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>> is the resource allocation that interests me. the kind of training and such that you provide, is this like a day-long program? and are you talking to teachers? are you talking to students? >> well, i'm happy to talk to you about your training work but on the other hand that's actually not the request we have of you for action. we do not seek that level of -- what we ask for in terms of the safe schools improvement act and nondiscrimination protection is regarding taking a standard that has been developed in the laboratory of the states to which my colleague mr. eastman referred and which is having a salutory of those -- >> i what you're asking -- i'm asking whether you provide that -- that training and what kind of training it is that you provide? >> yes, we actually provide professional development training to districts across the
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country and they have resulted, in fact, in higher rates of intervention in the kinds of behavior that currently harm young people and we're very proud of the -- >> do you charge for that training? >> in general, we leverage private resources to make things available. >> you said does that mean you sometimes charge for those? >> i really feel like you are saying -- schools pay for resources that help them do a better job. >> do you charge for your services. >> ms. heriot, we're going to move on. >> i would appreciate just the point to say -- >> do you charge. >> i have said yes on occasion we do charge but on the other hand i would also point out that the thing that federal action would do is set a floor of protections through policy language that has been developed in the states and say having a beneficial effect. the way that districts then move on to those next levels of implementation appropriate to their local area is their own decision. they would then be responsible for reporting on the impact of
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those policy. and that is the action where federal leadership could have a beneficial effect for young people who are suffering today. thank you. >> we'll ask members of the audience to please turn off your cell phones. they've gone off several times and please do that if you haven't already done so. the chair recognizes commissioner yaki. >> actually, commissioner titus hasn't gone. >> okay, thank you. we've heard evidence from different ones of you and in the previous panel that technical assistance, teacher training, developing antibullying policies in school have all helped to lower the rate of bullying in those particular situations. most of the testimony, though, is focused on what we do after the fact, after a bullying or harassment occurs, how do we deal with the situation. i'd like to take a step back, if you'd help me. mr. clegg kind of scoffed at the notion his school's evidence compiled by top-notch social
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scientists suggest that this is getting to be a more serious problem by saying, well, maybe just technological developments and getting more people to report it. i don't think that's it. i think it is an increasing problem. and some of the society ideal conditions that have led to the increase. maybe ms. byard or professor herek can address that. >> sure. in recent years as lgbt life in this country has become more visible, we have seen it become an increase subject of debate. many of lgbt's members are teachers and school principals and the fact is that what you see in the headlines shows up in the hallways. now, the problem is not the debate itself, it is the environment of hostility, the fact that there are legislative efforts to clamp down on speech related to lgbt people in our
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schools. there are eight states in this country where there's legislative language that prohibits the positive discussion of homosexuality in a public school. and there is an effort today to pass such a statute in the state of tennessee. in that environment, it is very difficult to make it clear to teachers that they should intervene. we have seen specific concerns in the hennepin district in minnesota. that the prohibitive statutory language about any discussion by school faculty of homosexuality stands in the way of effective response by adults to behavior that clearly crosses the line into harmful behavior directed at young people. we want to be very clear about what we are here to discuss. it is the appropriate role of the government to set the floor, the minimum standard to which districts have it here. they must make it clear that the adults who run our schools have
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to protect all children, including those who have been singled out on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. >> thank you. >> well, we'll come back. >> the point that, you know, what's really relevant here is not just whether there has been an increase in the reported instances of harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, but whether there has been an increase in unresponsiveness among local school districts. and i don't think any of the statistics or the thousands of pages that have been submitted in the record here address that question. >> we will go to commissioner yaki and then to vice chair thernstrom and the delegated authority staff director. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. this is directed at ms. graves.
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we've heard a lot about -- and i have one quick comment. we've heard a lot about the inability to have the right data and i would just submit that part of our problem and part of why we are here today is to try to gather that data, part of the -- part of the challenge, of course, is that as an unprotected class, agencies are now required to gather that kind of data for us to analyze. ms. graves, i want you to sort of answer some of the questions posed by mr. eastman and some of my colleagues down the dais from me having to do with the reach of the federal government, the ability of the 14th amendment and power of congress to enact laws to create a protected class, to do the sorts of things that would allow us not to have
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to tap dance of the head of an opinion here or there to grab jurisdiction on this. but what is your view of the fourteenth amendment and congress to reach a protected class. >> thank you. and i agree there's a need for additional data as well and one of our recommendations is that there be additional data in the rights data collection that takes into account bullying and sexual orientation which it currently does not. but in response to some of the points made by mr. eastman, i mean, i think that some of the questions that he raised have really already been answered by the supreme court's jurisprudence. you know, there's no question that there's protections under the fourteenth amendment for sex discrimination. there's no question that there's protection for sexual orientation. and, you know, and many times congress has said that title 9
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through congress' spending clause authority is, you know -- it's valid to say that you cannot misuse federal dollars to engage in sex discrimination. so to the extent that, for example, the student nondiscrimination act would make explicit similar to the ways that title 9 and title 6 and the rehab act do, that you cannot misuse federal dollars to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. that's another valid exercise under congress's powers. it's under section 5 of the section clause. >> let me direct this question to mr. eastman and to mr. clegg if he wants to come in as well. i am -- and by the way, i second all the questions about the data, but i am concerned about free speech issues. and, of course, what we want to
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tolerate depends on specifically what is being said and the age of the students being involved -- who are involved. i mean, it's difficult to be a second grader than it is to be somebody in their junior year in high school in terms of what you want. it would be to me an allowable speech but one of my concerns is that it seems to me possible in an effort to get rid of ugly speech of which there is a lot between students, that effort can have a ripple effect in the schools such that students become nervous about saying controversial things on
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political matters, let's say, where there may be disagreement where sensibilities may be ruffled, where you're talking about basic values taught in the home and students being nervous about bringing those values to the -- to the classroom or to discussions with other children. and i -- and i wondered if you wanted to perhaps roger clegg as well to respond to that concern on my part? >> i think it's a very serious regard. and i think it's something the professor said only highlights in his discussion of how gays and lesbians are more susceptible to the stresses in the classroom and he said it people should affirmatively
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support homosexually and it will take his conduct that leads to harassment that invokes federal intervention and training programs and what have you. it is a very dangerous slope to head down on such a contested issue as this to basically tell people that if you engage in such speech, that some people might interpret it as harassment because you don't like the lifestyle or the conduct or what have you. that will then lead to federal intervention. that will lead to training programs. that will lead to affirmative responses by school districts supporting this conduct rather than opposing it or saying what have you. that's where the dangerous slippery slope is and we see it happening in the number of cases that have already hit the trial court levels. and i think it's a real serious concern. as i understand it, there's going to be even more discussion about that in the next panel but i think it's a very serious determine and it's one that we ought to be very cautious about allowing an overreach by the federal government on this issue as we try and grapple with how to get that balance right. it's not something that will
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come out of washington, d.c. >> obviously, but sure, i would love -- [inaudible] >> mr. clegg? >> i agree with your concern. i agree with what mr. eastman said. and, you know, we've had discussion this morning of different large animals in the room. let's be honest, i think part of what's going on here, part of what's being pushed is an agenda that seeks to use the power of the federal government to vilify and marginalize people who believe that gay sex is a sin. and they don't want that kind of thought to go unpunished. >> what i'm saying is that this is really -- it should be treated no differently than mary
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beth tinker when she wore her plaque -- black arm bands in that community. there were lots of children of soldiers who died in vietnam or who were serving in vietnam, they were extremely upset. they were incredibly impacted emotionally by seeing those black arm bands but we can't take away mary beth tinker's right to wear the arm bands and same way with the students of the case in 1966 where they were wearing their freedom buttons demanding equality. it upset some people. it was something that the government maybe didn't grow with, with their freedom button message. but we can't stamp out those messages as well. and i think that's what is really at issue here is are we going to use the government to stamp out thoughts and beliefs
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and speech with which the government disagrees. it's a very dangerous game because it's easy to do that when it's the speech that you favor but it opens the door when the when it comes time when it's your speech that's targeted and we have to stand up for everybody because if we don't then your speech is next. >> we're going to -- >> go ahead, professor -- >> what i was talking about is not about school district saying that it is okay or not okay to be gay. and, in fact, nothing in my testimony i think the other people here is about speech at all. what i was talking about is about school supporting affirmatively a gay student, not by taking sides about if it's okay or not but again the types of evidence that i've quoted about being injured, about the
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fiscal assaults and the rates and having the property stolen about being threatened with a knife or a weapon. so these are not issues about whether somebody as mr. clegg referred about before wanting to someone and another student thinking it's not a sin. i'm in total agreement with them about the speech part of it. but we're talking about very severe harm that is conducted. and that is where i think -- and i agree the school has a role in which the students have an opportunity to have a place to learn. >> we'll have toll hurst involved by commissioner heriot, commissioner achtenberg for her follow-up questions and i'll indicate who will follow up after this. >> this is for professor herek and meyer. i've read both your written statements and i should thank the panelists for providing a
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great deal of reading material. you address the bullying and the social stigma on it has a greater impact on teens than more general forms of bullying. you were both addressing lgbt students. would you say the same holds true for students bullied based on their race, religious, disability or gender? >> well, at least one of the studies that i cited was from the california healthy kids study did look at those other factors and, yes, the comparison was between kids who had been bullied based on their sexual orientation, perceived or actual, versus kids who were bullied for reasons that weren't related to identity, and there was -- there we saw the difference, my recollection of that study is that they did find other -- that being targeted as a member of a particular group, racial group, for example, is more -- is associated with
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greater harm than being targeted what we might call routine sort of violence. i would say there's a parallel in what we see in research with adults. we see, for example, that adults, lesbian and gay men who have experienced hate crimes in recent years -- because of their sexual orientation show greater psychological distress and more problems than other comparable lesbian and gay men who experienced comparable crimes of violence but not based on their sexual orientation so there does seem to be an added harm that's associated with victimization, that's associated with one's sexual orientation and i believe some other data would say with other sorts of identities as well. >> thank you. >> commissioner heriot? >> i just want to answer. i think this has been shown with regard to other types of groups and the reasoning behind it as i said is because of the symbolic value that is involved in something that is such a hate
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crime. and by the way, this was addressed by the supreme court in discussing the issue of hate crime and whether there could be added punishment for a hate crime and an opinion written by chief justice rehnquist acknowledged that social science finding of the added harm to the individual in society that comes from hate crimes because of the added hate aspect. >> thank you. commissioner heriot? >> my question is also for doctors herek and meyer. i just barely started looking at the empirical literature but so far i'm thinking there might be a tension here. on the one hand there's the i'm okay, you're okay, everybody is okay -- or almost everybody is okay line in the literature. and i'm thinking of the work of dr. rich williams and if i understand him, he is looking at the data. i assume very similar data to what you're looking at.
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and his point is that if you take the bisexual community out of the equation, you really don't run across higher mental health issues or higher suicide rates either. the rates are about the same as the heterosexual community and from that he concludes this is just a normal sexual variant and it's all very normal. and everything is fine. on the other hand, there is the literature that i believe you have contributed to that concludes that the lesbian and gay communities do have higher rates of suicide and mental health issues. can you reconcile that for me? is there something that you can -- you can point me to that would help me sort that out? ..>> yeah, as i said, there's different studies and doing different thing when you look at different problems.
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what was talking about is there are in fact areas in the country where gays are more accepted. they have a less of those stressors that i was describing. he works at cornell university area with gay youth there, and he has shown they are doing fine which is consistent with what i said and others said that when the environment is supportive, when the parents, when the schools are sportive, these kids do well. in terms of defining suicide and in particular what you quoted, is it true -- it is true that bisexual youth have more problems than gay identified youth, but both bisexual and guy youth have much more experience of suicide ideation as well as serious suicide attempts than heterosexual youth, and this is shown in many, many studies.
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like i said, this is the evidence we'd like to see where it takes an accumulation of studies and looks at what the panel shows, and this is going to be published soon by marshall and it shows many studies. >> my study shows suicide rates were the same and it suggests the bisexual community is different. we're dealing with a complex problem here, more complex than the complex of bullying leads to suicide. >> that is wrong. that was not defining. the defining is that both gay, please yesian and bisexuals have more than bisexual peers, but they have more than the others, but they both have more than heterosexuals. >> i have to interrupt you.
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commissioner is followed by commissioner yaki. >> this is a question to ms. byards. is there a case of training students to hold particular views, i would be against that for the particular reasons that you outlined in your testimony. forced professions are to be resisted at every turn. they shouldn't be the manifest cation of the -- manifestation of the government or private parties for that matter, so i couldn't agree with you more, nor would i disagree
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with the notion that if thrp an effort to get -- this were an effort to get rid of ugly speech, we should turn away and run away as far as and as fast as we could because the government has no business in trying to outlaw ugly speech no matter how offensive provided it's not a precursor to ugly, damaging action. ms. byard, could you talk a little bit about the training that we've heard so much about? discuss the extent to which it forces students to hold or to manifest particular views or it is an effort to rid the public's
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fear of ugly speech. >> i just want to say one thing first. it's hard to know what training people are referring to in part because districts that have antibullying policies that specifically address sexual ore orientation seek professional development opportunities from a wide range of places such as -- >> just comment on the whatever training you offer -- >> sure. >> in this regard. >> the purpose of training, for example, work that we did actually in partnership with the adl and the city of new york -- >> who? >> the antidefamation league were among the partners what provided district trainings through the city of new york, trainings designed to prepare school staff to respond effectively to the kinds of
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behaviors that could have a debtmental -- detrimental effect on student life. as i said before, what we found is these trainings over time, tracking the participants, actually had a good effect in terms of the ways in which those school staff responded to things happening in their schools, but i would note very, very clearly and firmly that all of this is about an issue of behavior, not belief. we are talking about efforts to ensure that schools as entities effectively act to deal with the hostile school environment that lgbc students face. we do not need to think that the student is in imminent danger of taking their life to agree that that student is worthy of equal protection. i would say that the most
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important thing here is that there is significant commonground on the need to address the violence and harassment that young people face. i was proud to be on panels with the head of the christian educators on this topic. i submit ugly speech including fagot or dike do not constitute bullying or harassment. i want to be clear about there. there is a context and what emerged at the state level is having a good effect in schools for bullying and harassment for separate questions includes the concept that the student has a reasonable fear of physical harm as a result of what they are facing, and even the word as ugly as fagot or dike because i do not want us to lose sight about what we're actually talking about has to be used in a context where it produces
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those expectation in the student in order to constitute bullying or to constitute harassment. >> thank you, thank you. >> the chair recognizes commissioner titus. >> thank you. i was talking earlier about one of the conditions that led to the increase in bullying, but other things have been said, so i'll just leave that. i get the impression that some of the members of the panel that establishing a federal policy against harassment or bullying with somehow have a chilling effect on what students can say when they go to school about politics or about religion, and it will have a negative impact on local school policy, and yet allowing the states to do it, which seems to be the argument the federal government doesn't do it, the states will, passing those laws doesn't seem to have that negative effect on children or school districts, and i just don't quite get that why it would make a difference. furthermore, i want to make that
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you site the tinker case, but that's a case where the system worked. the first amendment was protected. it was not popular, but the individual was protected. what makes you think the system would work then and it wouldn't work now? >> well, actually, the problem was the system now is that the school officials are actually not following the clearly established law. if you look in my paper, there's cases just from recent years where you have a student in california, for example, who had a bible verse referencing homo sexuality not in a way that people appreciate printed on a t-shirt, and he was banned and discriminated against not just by his peer, but by the actual government apparatus, the government officials themselves inflicting that type of harassment and intimidation on him. you have students who --
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>> the local school board did that? that wasn't a national intervention? >> well, that's exactly right. what i'm saying is though that this problem is pervasive and ongoing that there's a constant problem of harassment and intimidation of students of faith when they express sentimentses that may disagree with official school orthodox in favor of, for example, homo sexuality is when the training happens and the teachers are there and the students receive various instruction and training, they are taught that their beliefs, what they believe is wrong, and they are intimidated and ha rased into not wanting to express their beliefs, and if this is not based upon conjecture, these are cases we deal with on a daily basis. >> the chair recognizes
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commissioner. >> i want to use one of the examples in your testimony. i don't know whether it was -- i think you had two examples where a student wanted to wear a shirt deemed offensive to the message that the school was trying to convey, and the day of silence message that the school was trying to convey, and i might disagree with some people who argue that the schools ought not to teach morality or values. i actually think it's quite important for the schools to teach morality and values including the western value of tolerance, but what seemed problematic about the school district that prohibited the student from wearing that shirt is that one, it violated the first amendment, that's an important value too, and number two, that doesn't teach the student real tolerance. real tolerance that i want to be taught is the kind of tolerance
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that allows defense, and if that is a real world problem that the school districts don't understand how to teach tolerance, i think it's much more likely, and i would like mr. clegg to answer this, much more likely that we can straighten them out at the local level, and explain to them both what the first amendment requires and what true toller lance is about that i want -- tolerance is about that i want taught, but if the federal government is involved, they revert to zero tolerance policy and they hide behind their more resistance to teaching proper tolerance. is that consistent with y'all's explay mages? >> what i see in my practice is day after day you have school districts out of fear for loss of funding or whatever it may be, that they have to go around
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and stamp out any particular dissenting speech lest it lead to, nip it in the bud, lest it lead to sort of feelings, unwanted feelings towards a particular student, so the problem that we have is not one of lack of tolerance. the tolerance that we need, the value that we need is that the constitution and the first amendment protect all people allow free and open debate on controversial topics, and the government can't put its thumb on the scale of one side or the other. it's okay if the decision said in the spring court said, it's okay to teach uncontroversial values like being kind to your neighbor and the constitution is a good thing. we love america, and american exceptionalism and things of that nature, but what's not okay
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is to try to intimidate students into not expressing their beliefs even when the government doesn't agree with those messages, and in this case, it's about intimidating and harassing students who express religious sentiments. that's an ongoing sport that happens in school districts today. they intimidate today students who are engaging in religious speech, and we need more tolerance of that, not more clamping down. >> i agree with what the co-panelist just said now. again, this is an area, you know, as we're learning more and more this morning that has a lot of difficult line drawing issues in it. everybody seems to agree that those lines are best drawn by
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local governments. i continue to hear nothing that suggests that local school boards are indifferent to drawing those lines in the right place. i hear nothing that suggests that the federal government is going to play a helpful role in getting those lines drawn in the right place, and i continue to think that the federal government's involvement will actually make matters worse because it's much more difficult for the federal government to draw these nuanced lines on the basis of local conditions and what was happening in the school, what the student actually said, all of that, much more difficult for the federal government to design a policy that's going to be sensitive to all of that than leaving it to the local schools. the chair recognizes commissioner yaki. >> thank you very much. i'm somewhat confused by the discussion over the last 15
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minutes because based on what i have heard, if we had this debate in 1963, we'd be talking about whether or not we should give equal rights to african-americans in the country. the idea that speech and conduct are not separate is well settled. they are completely separate. the idea that a group of guys can sit around in white robes and burn a cross and say bad things to each other in a private thing, okay, they can do that. they can't go and do it outside a black church or do it inside a black store owner's location. this is -- we are not talking about the same thing. this first amendment discussion in some ways is really a red herring in terms of the speech conduct separation that is well-settled doctrine in american constitutional law. i understand what you're saying. i am someone who was pretty much a first amendment absolutist. all those cases, tinker, all
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those cases, but the difference is, the difference is the tings of yelling fire and causing a stampede and a panic. there are consequences to speech that's aimed at conduct, and i think what i want to hear -- we've been talking about this a lot, and i think the testimony from mr. herik is illuminating, but i want them to explain again. it has resinated, i don't know why it hasn't, but the fact is we're not talking about someone who just casually says that i just hate blank, blanks. that doesn't cause these problems for young people. can you elaborate a little? it's not the isolated person who
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walks down the street that someone says i hate blankety blank. i can't say the words. it's one of the things i can't even say them, but, could you talk about what is -- i guess, what is bully? what is the impact of bullying on the psyche, on the emotional defenses of a young person that is so different that is why we are talking about it here today because i think somehow people are missing this. we're racking this up around the american flag, but the american flag is the 14th amendment as well. >> can i answer? well, yes, what we're talking about is chirp and youth who aren't simply having a reasoned discussion or disagreeing about a philosophical or religious point. what we're talking about is kids who are feeling that their safety -- that they are not safe. they are feeling that they are going to be subjected to
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physical violence, and, in fact, sometimes have been subjected to physical violence, and that this is something that pervades their life and often something not associated with a single perpetrator, but associated with multiple members of their peer group who are harassing them and teasing them in a merciless way on an ongoing basis, and, you know, as professor meyer said, these things are called stressors, and in the social scientific sense is they require the individual to respond, and we know that people do what we -- the term we use is coping when someone feels they have the resources needed to respond to stressor. we all face stressors all the time. the problem occurs when people feel they don't have the necessary resources to deal with these stressor, and that's where we end up having this experience where people end up having negative consequences, and so what we see in the school
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situation is that you have kids who probably could deal with, you know, an occasional teasing or an even name calling or something like that, but this is something that ends up being per pervasive and something that confronts them on a daily basis, and that requires huge amounts of psychological resources to respond to it, requires social support, requires assistance from others and afternoon what we see in research is kids don't have that. not only do they experience the widespread harassment, teasing, and brutality, but they have no support. teachers are not stopping it from happening, other authorities don't stop it. they feel very much like they are isolated. they are on the outs. the world is against them, and, in fact, they are right in a sense in their subjective world it is largely against them. that's what we see when we talk
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about these very negative outcomes. >> one point of understanding and talking about stigma is the social context for this, so for a christian kid to display, to show attitude, supported by his community around him or her is not the same as for a gay kid who is not supported within this community, and who feels that they are subject to disrespect and disdain and hatred. the context matters here a lot, and the context is the stigma that vowndz the person. in the united states, being christian is not a devalued social identity. the evidence is that i look for evidence. i don't see evidence that christian kids are harassed, attempt suicide, that they are
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thrown out of homes for christianity, bullied by their peers because they are christian. i don't see that? i totally share your frustration because i hear from the other side about speech which we all are in agreement about. this is not about speech. i think we've said it many, many times, and i don't know hoe else to say -- how else to say it. this is about people's lives. >> the chair recognizes commissioner -- [inaudible] >> i think the question is best directed towards professorrest man -- professor eastman. i think this is something the panelists agree want to address. the first is a jurisdictional standards, then whether or not in terms of remedial et cay sigh such standards imnate from
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sitfederal, state, or local school district, and then third, presumably you get through first two, what is the standard that should be applied, and when we talk about harassment, what i see in the jurisprudence seems as if the harassment standards evolved or emanated from the private sector. they are publicble to public sector employment, but it's employment. is that, in fact, the right standard? even in public employment to be had, when we have in terms of school of certain imperatives, look at new hampshire, the supreme court has recognized that we hold institutions of higher learn, for example, to a different first amendment standard. we want to encourage the free flow of ideas. if certain types of speech, even within a certain group, and i
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seldom use that term, are prohibited, as much as we want to do so, does that impede the free flow of ideas? do you find in your litigation a different, not necessarily heightened, but a different standard applied in the educational environments? >> well, what i will say is the educational environment is the key place for ideas in exchange of various -- [inaudible] view appointments on a wide range of topics. one of the things that disturbs me about the testimony is that they think -- [inaudible] the feel -- [inaudible] which is that someone in the cloud is so upset about what is
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said that it's such an emotional response interimly that we have to shut down the speaker. we don't shut down speakers because there happens to be a reaction or even a deep negative reaction in the hearer, and what i'll say and turn it over to professor eastman is this that the supreme court was very clear we have to be careful not to strange l the free mind at its source, and that's in our educational system. freedom of speech is something that is so important that we're going to tolerate things that we wouldn't want to tolerate necessarily in our own living room, but we have to in the schools because that's where the speech rights are beginning, that's where students learn it. there's obviously things that are age inappropriate, for students not to discuss, certain
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sexual topics, students shouldn't be exposed to talking about it at very young ages with elementary school and kippedder garten should have sex talks, but for the most part, students need to talk amongst themselves in respectful ways during noninstructional time that do not disresult the educational environment. that's what the law is. it's very clear. >> commissioner titus will have the last question. >> it's interesting to see how they overlap. when students wear shirts that say homo sexual content is a sin. it's immoral or the conduct is against nature and a number of students wear that, and then somebody pushes one of the students who is self-identified as gay and less lesbian. that results in the normal sanction by the school officials
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to the bully who did the pushing, who crossed over the line in the violence, but the message is then take p as part of the -- taken as part of the hostile environment that ups the ante on what the school system's response has to be, and that's where the dangerous starts that vice chairman talked about. the danger into speech sanction or speech censorship because that becomes part of the backdrop that creates hostile environments. it's not a discrimination by school districts that we're treating the conduct differently. that's covered by the civil right statutes, but the consequence of that broader message that might be there leading to the hostile environment claim provides the connection with speech, and that's the danger. >> thank you. commissioner titus, last question. >> thank you. mr. clegg, i go back to you, but i can't help it. you argue one of the reasons we don't node a federal policy is the schools don't have
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entrenched policies against sexual minority students. i'd like to ask ms. byard about turning a blind eye or neutrality policies. aren't they part of the problem? >> [inaudible] >> if that were true and schools responded when conduct crossed the line into physical violence, we would not be here today. that is not what is happening. schools are not responding in a way sufficient to protect the educational access physical well-being and emotional well-being of people facing violence and harassment every day. the conduct we are talking about as bullying involves the definition, involves the fear of physical harm and harassment that we talk about is severe
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pervasive, and objectively offensive in ways that keep you from enjoying the benefits of going to school. i would like to note from the amount of time we have spent talking about religious issues here that the definition for which we advocate includes religion among its protected categories. we have no interest in chilling speech. we want good schools where our students learn in a way where they can participate and compete in a diverse society and where everyone's child is afforded the same respect and opportunity, but what we are here to discuss is the necessary federal response that would set a bottom line standard for safety, for antiharassment policies that protect young people on the basis of race, religion, national origin, disability,
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sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity, and i would not wish to withhold that equal protection from any child because i want it for my own. >> thank you. thank you all, it is now 12:11. the panel has concluded. we appreciate the time, effort, and information you shared with us. thank you. we will be back and starting at one o'clock sharp so i ask all panelists for the next session and commissioners to be back at 12:55 because we start promptly at one o'clock, thank you. >> going live now to capitol hill as the u.s. senate is convening on this wednesday morning. today debate on a package of three health measures expedite
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expanding offshore oil and gas drilling. with senate republicans in support on moving that bill forward. tomorrow the senate will consider the nomination of goodwin liu to the ninth circuit court of appeals. off the floor the nominees will meet today with several democratic senators including majority leader harry reid. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 18, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from
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the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inou signed: daniel k. inou mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following any leader remarks, senate will be in morning business until 10:30 this morning. at 10:30, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 953. there will be four hours of debate. at approximately 2:30, there will be a roll call vote on the motion to proceed to that legislation with a 60-vote threshold. i filed cloture last night on the nomination of goodwin liu to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit. cloture vote on his nomination will be tomorrow. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president, last night, senate democrats put forth a plan to raise taxes on american energy that in their words would have done nothing to lower the price of gas at the pump. as the chairman of the finance committee put it, that's not the issue. well, i think for most americans, high gas prices actually is the issue. according to a gallup poll that came out this week, nearly seven out of ten americans say the high cost of gas at the pump is causing financial hardship for their families. more than half of americans say they have made major changes to compensate for it, and more than one in five say high gas prices are jeopardizing their standard of living, americans are struggling, my constituents in kentucky are hurting, and they want relief. and all they're getting from democrats in washington is a dog and pony show. their own members admit their
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legislative proposals are gimmicks. they spent a week vilifying the energy industry and another week trying to punish them. the legislation they proposed yesterday would have done three things -- destroy jobs, send american jobs overseas and make us more dependent on foreign sources of oil. that's what yesterday's bill would have done. and democrats themselves admit it wouldn't lower gas prices by a penny, so it's a fair question what in the world are they doing? once again, democrats have been faced with a crisis and done their best to turn it into a political exercise rather than doing something to actually help people and create jobs. they pushed a tax on energy because evidently some of their leaders think it polls well. well, so does mother's day. i would suggest that democrats spend a little more time looking
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at the price of gas at their local gas stations than the latest polling numbers about class warfare rhetoric. at a time when americans are genuinely struggling out there, americans are -- at a time when americans are generally struggling out there, democrats have chosen to waste two weeks making a political statement rather than in trying to make a difference. the american people, madam president, deserve a lot better than that, and that's why republicans have offered the offshore production and safety act of 2011 which we'll vote on later today. our plan has basically three objectives. first, to restore american offshore production. second, to improve safety. third, to require bureaucrats in washington to get to work on the permitting process to make a decision one way or the other. and it would have three corps responding effects -- three
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corresponding effects. first and most importantly, our plan would help reduce the price of gas at the pump by unlocking our own domestic resources and speeding up the permitting process, our plan would actually do something to increase supply, putting downward pressure on price. as the democratic senator from missouri said yesterday, the more supply, the less the price. it would also help alleviate our dependence on foreign sources of oil, and it would create thousands of energy jobs right here in america instead of sending them overseas, which is why this bill has the support of both the national association of manufacturers and the u.s. chamber of commerce. i've indicated what our bill does in general. here are the specifics. in order to restore american offshore production, our plan directs the secretary of interior to conduct previously scheduled offshore lease sales
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in the western and central gulf of mexico, virginia and alaska. in addition, the plan will extend lease terms by one year for gulf lease which is were suspended under the 2010 obama moratorium. after the devastating oil spill we had last year in the gulf, improving safety is one of our highest priorities. that's why our bill amends the outer continental shelf lands act to require all leaseees to develop spill response and containment plans, establish a public-private task force on oil spill response and mitigation and orders the study on federal response to oil spills by the controller general to examine capabilities and legal authorities related to spill prevention and response to clarify appropriate federal
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roles. finally, it is imperative we put in place a process that makes prats operate more efficiently on the crucial issuance of permits. that's why our plan puts time limits on the review of and decision on drilling permits, providing for 30 days of application review with two opportunities for the interior department to extend the time period. beyond that, it provides for a default approval if interior doesn't reject the application within 60 days and it directs the interior department to provide rationale for rejection of permits. this bill isn't our last on this crisis. we could do a lot more to increase production here at home, and we should, but it offers solutions, and every provision in this bill has bipartisan support. at a time of near record gas prices, this is a modest approach, a good first step that takes everyone's concerns into
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account so that we can actually achieve a practical result. that's what americans want. it's time to stop pointing fingers. it's time to stop picking winners and losers. it's time to stop telling americans what's best for them. it's time to stop holding americans back with moratoriums, fees, bureaucratic roadblocks and the ever-expanding reach of a president who thinks that business owners in the country need to get his permission first if they want to create jobs. every single american is feeling the pain at the pump, democrats and republicans alike. it's time for the two parties to come together and get serious about results. i urge all of my colleagues to support the offshore production and safety act of 2011. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only
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until 10:30 a.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: madam president, i rise this morning to commemorate national police week and to speak to the service of the brave men and women in local law enforcement. but first, i feel compelled to make a comment in response to the exchange between the majority leader and the republican leader, to simply speak, if i could, briefly about the ongoing pain that each and every working american family
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feels when they go to the gas station. with the price of gasoline at an all-time high, with the price of gasoline flirting with $4 a gallon and with the price of oil retreating from an all-time high and with, most importantly, oil company profits gushing through the roof and hitting an all-time high, members of our party, members of this body came forward yesterday with a bill which got more than 50 votes but failed to hit the 60 needed in this body to make for cloture, which would have made significant progress on dealing with our deficit. we just heard a comment on the floor that we need to stop picking winners and losers and need to move forward in helping america end its dependence on foreign energy. i couldn't agree more because the expenditures through our tax code, the billions and billions of dollars in needless expenditures through our tax code that continue to subsidize some of the most wildly profitable corporations in american history is exactly that, picking winners, and the
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losers are the american people. when i go home to my state, i know, madam president, when you go home to your state, i hear people day in and day out say why can't you do more to help create decent jobs, to deal with the deficit, and more than anything to stop the oil companies which are despoiling our natural resources and picking my pocket at the pump. this isn't picking on one particular industry. this is rationally looking at our immense tax expenditures through the code and saying there is a time here for us to stop. we would save literally literally $21 billion by f.y. 2021. over the next decade, decade, $21 billion in deficit reduction. that doesn't solve the problem that we need to come together and address as a body. both parties, both chambers of this great congress, but it is a significant down payment. i'm from a state where we produce very little in the way of oil or coal or gas, but where we consume a lot of energy and where we've got lots of opportunities to invest in alternative energy. investments that would create
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new jobs, a competitive platform for the united states as we enter this new century and that could frankly help sustain our economy going forward. the votes cast here yesterday to sustain these senseless tax breaks and credits, to help keep afloat the most profitable companies in american history strike me as doing exactly what we were just urged not to do -- picking winners where the average american is, in fact, the loser. so it is my hope that we will continue to look with a sharp and clear eye at the billions of dollars, the 35 -- more than $35 billion in first quarter profits made by the five largest american oil firms. i have nothing against corporations making profits. in fact, that's what helps propel our economy. as we try to recover from this terrible recession, having a profitable private sector is the best way forward to help create jobs and to help grow our economy and help deal with federal revenues, but the spending through our tax code,
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something that has accumulated on the underside of the american economy over the last decade, has to be stopped and we have to find ways to plug the holes through which billions in federal potential revenue are leaking, and i frankly think it's time for us to have a sensible national energy policy, and continuing to defend decades-old needless tax breaks for major oil companies so that they can engage in manufacturing by extracting oil from the ground. for example, one of the five that would have been ended by this bill is just senseless. so it's my hope that we will reconsider, that as we move forward and try to find a way together to create jobs, to reduce spending and deal with our deficits, that we'll look hard at some of these outdated tax breaks that make it possible for bloated oil companies to make billions of dollars of profits off the working americans who pay too much at the pump. with that, madam president, if i might for a few moments, i just wanted to turn to honoring the service and sacrifice of
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americans who serve us as police. from may 15 to may 21 is national police week, and americans all across this country will be welking those who serve -- will be recognizing those who serve and have served in police departments in communities from coast to coast. law enforcement personnel and their families will also be coming together to hold memorials for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. national police week holds special significance to me because for the six weeks that i served as county executive in delaware i was responsible for the police worked -- force that worked to keep our communities safe. i worked with the fraternal order of police that so ably represented them, with the families of those who served and with the families of the one member of our law enforcement community of the new castle county police who had been killed in the line of duty. i often would have differences with the fraternal order of police in my six years of leadership, but i will tell you they were great and tireless
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partners in standing up for the working men and women who kept us safe each and every day. they kept us focused on officers' safety and kept us focused on providing for them the equipment and the training and support they so richly deserve. and i'll tell that you each and every week that i would have a tough week when we had difficult times dealing with local budgets or coming to compromise in making progress in the county, tpeufr for a moment -- if i ever for a moment felt sorry for myself, all i needed to do was to turn on my police radio in my county car and listen to dispatch. there was always something going on. as every patrol car went out, as every squad responded to crises i was reminded day in and day out of the incredible selfless service of men and women, these dedicated men and women who sacrificed time away from their families to put themselves daily in harm's way and sadly too often it finds them. since the beginning of 2009, 122
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american police officers have lost their lives in service to their local communities. and today i wanted to focus on one: patrol chad spiceer of georgetown, delaware a georgetown native, chad graduateed from dell tech in 1999 following four years with our state department of corrections, he began service with the police department in bridgeville and later in the town of laurel. in 2008, chad joined the force in his hometown fulfilling his greatest childhood dream. on september 1, 2009, chad and his partner, corporal brig ha*pl were in spur p*ur suit of a vehicle. the car stopped and a suspect fired a single gunshot at close range, killing chad and seriously wounding his partner. the suspects were apprehended and have been brought to trial. patrolman chad spicer was only 29 years old when he was murdered doing his job.
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he is survived business had i fiancee, a -- he is survived by his fiancee and family members. his funeral service was one of the most moving services i've had in my adult life as thousands of law enforcement professionals, men and women from literally across this country gathered to pay tribute to this brave, likable, dedicated young man who gave his life in the protection of our community. earlier in this month the people of georgetown, delaware, erected a memorial to chad and his courage and the sacrifice he made for all of us. georgetown chief of police noted everyone knew and liked chad, even those from the roughest part of town, even those who were on the receiving end of his service to our community. chad died protecting the community where he was born and raised, and losing him to senseless violence like that had a devastating impact on the people of georgetown and on our whole state. chad was the first delaware police officer to die from
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wounds received in the line of duty since 1993. his loss is a constant reminder that law enforcement officers all over our country live with the daily reality that each time they go out on patrol, every time they report for duty, their lives may be put on the line as they serve their communities and our country. this is why, madam president, i think it's so important that the federal government continue to strengthen local police departments' capacity through programs that help local law enforcement purchase bullet-proof vests and other police supplies. it is so important to me that when law enforcement, federal, state, and local work together, we can succeed in keeping americans saefplt there is always more -- keeping americans safe. there is more we can do. this is why the judiciary committee will be holding a field hearing in june in wilmington, delaware, to explore ways we can better improve the collaboration and cooperation between federal and local law
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enforcement. while we honor our men and women of law enforcement every day and every year, during national police week we celebrate their service and sacrifice and thank them for being forever on watch. mr. president, in memory of patrolman chad spicer and all the other law enforcement professionals who made the ultimate sacrifice, i today stand in memory of their service. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that speakers on the republican side be allocated up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. thune: madam president, i would ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: then i would ask unanimous consent that speakers on the republican side be allocated up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, last friday the social security trustees report and the medicare trustees report were both released. they showed as large as our debt and deficits are now, without tackling these two entitlements, our future debts and deficits will dwarf current levels. in fact this year alone medicare is running a cash flow deficit of more than $32 billion. this is the largest deficit ever for this program. likewise, social security will run a cash flow deficit of $46 billion this year. this requires the treasury to finance these programs through additional borrowing, adding even more to our deficit. in total, those social security
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faces a $6.5 trillion unfunded liability. the reason for this, according to the report, is the aging of our society. as we live longer and as the size of families has decreased, the number of workers financing benefits has steadily decreased. for example, in 1950 there were 16.5 workers for oversocial security recipient, and life expectancy was 69 years old. by 1960, the number of workers supporting each recipient was just more than half of what it was ten years before. now there are fewer than three workers for each beneficiary. by 2040 it will be just over two. around the same time in 2036 social security's trust fund will run out of all the -- quote -- "i.o.u.'s the government issued to it. after this point social security will be able to pay just over 75% of the current benefits. madam president, that's an important point because some say that social security doesn't need to be reformed because
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these benefits are still going to be able to be paid. and i think we have to remind ourselves of how this would work. you can see the demographic trend here, what's happening in the country. going back to the 1950's when you had a life expectancy that was shorter, you had more people paying in -- 16.5 for every one that was drawing out. now we're looking at three people paying in for every one drawing out. of course the life expectancy now is up to about 78 years average. in 20 40rbgs as i said earlier -- in 2040, two people paying in for every one drawing out. the crunch succombing. we can predict it. the expectation is because the social security trust fund will be able to pay benefits until some time in the 2037 time frame, that everything's okay. we don't need to take steps to rectify this situation today. the problem with that, mr. president, is that the so-called i.o.u.'s and the social security trust fund are just more borrowing. when we get to that year, when
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we get to the 2036-2037 time frame, we won't have -- there will only be about 75 cents tkphoplg for every dollar -- coming in for every dollar that will have to be paid out. you will have people that will take a huge cut in benefits or we'll have to undergo a massive tax increase, payroll tax increase in order to make that up, or dramatically increase the borrowing of the federal government. because in fact those i.o.u.'s and the trust funds are not an economic benefit, or an economic asset that can be used to pay a cash benefit. it is simply borrowing. we all know that. the important date, i think in my mind at least, is the date at which the amount that we receive coming in to the social security trust fund in the form of payroll taxes no longer exceeds the amount that we are paying out in the form of benefits. that happened this year to the tune of $45 billion. many of us have committed to preserving these programs for existing retirees and for those who are about to retire soon. if we don't reform social
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security, these cuts of nearly 25% would be instant and automatic, giving retirees no time to make other arrangements. working back from the 2036 date to ensure that the program remains solvent and can pay out benefits to future generations requires us, madam president, to take action today. we don't have the luxury of time. we can't afford to wait. the sooner we take action, the more time the current generations have to prepare for a realistic level of benefits and not be blind sided when their benefits are dramatically cut. without reform, americans age 42 and younger will not see full social security benefits when they retire. in addition to the aging population, the rapidly rising cost of health care is placing enormous pressures on the medicare system. despite the recently enacted health care reform legislation, health care costs rose by over 7% in 2010 compared to about a 1% increase in all other goods
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and services in the economy. the medicare trustees reported that the program has an unfunded liability of nearly $36.8 trillion and that the medicare hospital insurance trust fund will be completely insolvent by the year 2024. medicare spending is expected to rise from 3.6% of our entire economy of our gross domestic product in 2010 to 10.7% in 2085. that means the amount of money the government spends on health care is going to triple -- triple -- over the next 75 years. now that, madam president, unbelievably is the rosy picture of what will happen. due to the double counting that occurred in unrealistic savings and targets that were included in the health reform bill that was passed last year, these numbers are going to be invariably worse if further action isn't taken. finally, the medicaid system also faces nearly all the same increasing costs and funding
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challenges as the medicare system, while also failing to provide states with the flexibility that they need to provide quality care for beneficiaries. unfortunately, this administration in the last congress made these problems even worse. instead of reforming these entitlement programs, they created yet another new entitlement program called the class act, which even the democrat chairman of the senate budget committee has called a ponzi scheme. included in the same health care bill passed last year was a massive expansion of medicaid and the creation of new credits for individuals to buy insurance, all of which add to the budget burdens that we're already experiencing. if these programs are not reformed, we know what we will face. under the congressional budget office's alternative fiscal scenario which makes realistic assumptions about the growth of these programs, spending in 2025 -- i'm sorry -- in 2020 would comprise 25.9% of g.d.p.,
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more than 25% above the historical average. it would continue to grow into 2035 spending would comprise 35.2% of g.d.p. or nearly 60% more than the historical average. in that same year deficits would comprise nearly 16% of g.d.p. of our entire economy and debt would be 185% of g.d.p. i want to illustrate that in the form of a chart here, madam president, and just show you what this would look like. historical average for deficits, 3%, as i said, if you look at the, what we faced in the last 40 to 50 years roughly, and where that is headed in these out years. if you look at 2010, how this thing has spiked up just in the last couple of years here, we've added massively to the debt, and the stimulus spending, the massive health care entitlement
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program, all of which are going to make this even worse. but we're on a trend right now, if you draw this out and follow this trajectory, where we will get to where literally the deficit is going to represent 61% of our entire economy. that is a stunning, stunning path to be on, madam president, why it cries out for us to take the steps that are necessary to get our country back on the right fiscal track. interest on the debt, half of which is paid to foreign debtors, comprise nearly 9% of our entire economy. what's interesting about interest on the debt, we all talk about the impact of carrying this amount of debt. today we have so much debt that the -- in a few years, the amount that we pay for interest will exceed the amount that we spend on national security. in other words, we will spend more financing our debt, simply making the interest payments, than we do defending the country. but think about that. think about where we have gotten to in this country. think about the fact, too, madam president, that if we saw even a 1% increase in interest rates,
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if interest rates went up 1% and we had to borrow -- pay more to borrow money from those creditors, some of which are foreign countries, it would increase the interest we pay annually by $140 billion. that is how sensitive we are to an increase, a slight increase in interest rates because of this massive amount of debt. we just passed yesterday, the day before, the $14.3 trillion level, the debt limit. we're going to have to raise the debt limit here. we don't know exactly when. sometime in july, sometime perhaps in august. but in any event, that's coming. we have maxd -- maxed out our credit card. our borrowing authority, we have hit the limit on that. in order to keep the government functioning, we're going to have to increase the amount that our country borrows. and if we follow the president's budget, we would double that in the next decade. we will go from $14.3 trillion to over $26 trillion in the next
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decade under the president's budget. why? because the president didn't make any attempt in his budget to reduce spending or to reform these entitlement programs to which i just referred. social security, medicare and medicaid are the big drivers of federal spending. and if we don't take steps to reform those entitlement programs, this picture gets worse and worse over time. and i just want to illustrate that with one last chart, madam president. this is the -- where we are today, and this is debt as a share of our economy. which as i said before, if you look at historical averages, what we have carried in the form of debt, in world war ii, obviously, there was a big about rampup because we had to finance the war and coming out of the war as the economy started to expand and we got spending under control. we got the debt as a percent of our entire economy come down to average, which is where it stayed for about 40-50 years. but then again it started to spike here, starts to spike in
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the last couple of years as we have seen spending increase, and the reason for that is because the amount that we spend as a percentage of our total economy has continued to tick up. now, i mentioned earlier that we're looking at -- what was the number here? 25.9% of g.d.p. is what we will spend on the federal government in 2020, according to the congressional budget office's alternative fiscal scenario. if you think about that, the amount that we spend historically as a percent of our economy on the federal government has been 20.6%. that's been the 40-year average. so we are going from 20.6%, 40-year average spending as a percent of our my economy, that's the amount that the government constitutes, federal government at least of what our entire economic output is to 25.9% a decade from now. so federal spending continues to spike up. when it does, because we're having to finance so much of our spending with borrowing, the borrowing level increases dramatically.
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to the point where we're looking at debt to g.d.p. on this path right here. if we don't take steps to change it, this is what we're looking at. it is a straightup spike in the amount of borrowing to g.d.p. and pointed out, i guess i would say, too, buy where we are currently. right now, we're running somewhere in the $1.4 trillion, the $1.4 trillion, $1.6 trillion annual deficits on $3.8 trillion in total spending, which means that out of every dollar that the federal government is spending, we are borrowing over 40 cents. now, can you imagine any family or business in this country that could continue to get by by borrowing literally over 40 cents out of every dollar that they spend? you can't -- you can't do it. that would be like the average family in this country having an annual income of about $60,000 and spending $110,000. you can't do that. the federal government has been doing it for way too long. that's why we have to take on this issue of spending and debt.
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now, some people would argue that we don't have enough revenues. they'll say that we need to raise taxes, that the way we deal with this fiscal crisis is to get more revenue coming into the federal government. i would argue, madam president, based upon these facts that this is not a revenue problem. this is a spending problem. the reason we are where we are is not because we don't have enough revenue. it's because we are spending dramatically more as a percentage of our entire economy than we have literally for the past 40-50 years. if you look at the historical average, 20.6% of the last 40 years is what we have spent on the federal government as a percentage of our entire economic output, our entire economy. today, that's 24%. as i said, by the year 2020, we're looking at over 25% -- an increase of 25% in the amount that we are spending on the federal government as a percentage of our entire economy. this is a spending problem. this is not a revenue problem. we need to address it. we need to recognize it.
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we need to understand that the only way we can fix it is to deal with what is driving that spending. it is social security, it is medicare, it is medicaid. those three programs compromise 55% to 60% of all of government spending. absent reforms to those programs, this is what we will end up with. this is where we will be as a nation, and that is certainly someplace i don't think most americans want to go. now, the other reason it's critically important -- and i've said this before on the floor and i'll say it again. it has implications not only for future generations, but it has implications in the here and now. one of which is when you are carrying this kind of debt to g.d.p., sustaining this kind of a debt level, it impacts your economy's ability to create jobs because you're crowding out private investment that otherwise would be allocated to more productive uses and you're spending it on government. you're also impacting interest rates and inflation in ways that -- that could be counter to the economic expansion and
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growth and job creation in the country, and there has been a great amount of research and study that's gone into at what level does that really start to take away from economic growth, economic expansion and job creation? and the two people who recently put a book out on this, carmen reinhart and kenneth rogoff suggested from their studies over the last half century that when your debt to g.d.p. reaches 90%, it is costing you about one percentage point of economic growth every year. in this country, losing one percentage point of economic growth costs us about a million jobs in our economy. so if we say we're serious about job creation, one of the things that we clearly ought to be focused on is getting spending and debt under control. because if we sustain and carry this kind of debt level for the foreseeable future, we are going to cost the economy one percentage point of economic growth and therefore a significant amount of jobs that otherwise might have been
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created by that economy. that's one reason we need to rein it in. the other one i'll point out is the statement that has been made repeatedly by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, who has said the greatest threat to america's national security is our national debt. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent to speak for another minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: and so i would say that the -- the national security implications of this are very real as well. when you have the highest ranking military official saying that the greatest threat to america's national security is our national debt, that is a stunning, stunning statement, and i think speaks volumes about why it's important that we get this issue under control. one of the reasons he says that, obviously, is because so much of the debt is held by foreign countries, all of which have additional leverage on us because we owe them so much money. we need to get the spending under control, we need to get the debt dealt with. that starts with entitlement reform. i hope the discussions that are currently occurring between the white house and some of the leaders here in congress will
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come to a result where we can work together and use this as an opportunity to once and for all put this country back on a fiscal track that will ensure that future generations are not burdened and saddled with an enormous amount of debt in an economy that is saddled with the weight and not able to create the jobs to get people back to work and to grow and prosper and create a higher quality of living and a higher standard of living for the next generation. madam president, i yield the floor. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that quorum calls be divided equally on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. i ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: today the senate will consider a bill to increase
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shore drilling. this is the response to the nation's need for an energy policy and rising gas prices. i believe the republican approach to this will be unsuccessful. i believe it overlooks some very fundamental and basic facts. the facts are these. we cannot drill our way out of our problem. if you take a look at all the known oil reserves in the united states offshore and onshore, all of them, they comprise 2% of the known oil reserves in the world. 2%. now take a look at how much oil the united states consumes each year. 25% of the world oil production. so the republican answer is drill, baby, drill. honestly, that's not going to solve the problem, and it is going to invite some dangerous activities which we should know better than to engage in. it hasn't been that long ago that 170 million gallons of oil poured out of a well that was
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improperly drilled by p*p in the gulf of mexico -- by b.p. in the gulf of mexico. the devastation that followed to the local economy and to the environment is virtually incalculable. have we learned a lesson? a lesson that safety should be the hallmark when it comes to drilling. that we ought to make certain that before we go into an environment that is precious or where an accident could create some unknown hazard or danger that, we thoroughly investigate that in advance. that's not too much to ask. we know what's going on in the gulf of mexico today, as the economy is still trying to recover. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who will produce the mcconnell approach, the drill, baby, drill approach today, want us to forget the spill. they want to begin rushing in to drilling with the same reckless practices that led to the spill in the first place. this isn't going to solve our problem. in fact, it may create more problems. if passed, the republican bill
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would require the secretary of the interior to evaluate a permit application in 60 days, regardless of its complexity, 60 days. if the secretary cannot make a decision within 60 days, the permit is automatically approved, even if it contains potential environmental and safety risks. this kind of arbitrary deadline makes it impossible for regulators to do the in-depth scientific analysis needed to accurately evaluate the risks and safety environments for every application. the bill mandates the sale for offshore gas leases off the gulf of mexico, off the coast of virginia and the arctic ocean, sales that were postponed in order to investigate their potential environmental impact. not only does the republican bill not add any new protocols to ensure that increased drilling will be safe, it revokes some of the additional requirements that were instituted following the b.p.
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spill. they haven't learned any lesson from what happened in the gulf of mexico. essentially this bill would lead to more offshore drilling with less safety and regulation of the industry. you would think that the b.p. oil spill never happened if you consider this bill which will be on the floor later today. and there's really no reason to rush to begin new drilling projects in such an irresponsible manner. you see, under president obama, domestic oil production has grown to its highest level in the last seven years. that's right. it has grown to its highest level in the last seven years. and if you listen to the other side, you would think the opposite was true, that we've really curt back or stopped drilling -- cut back or stopped drilling. since february 34 permits for 14 unique deep-water wells have been issued under the new safety requirements since the b.p. spill. oil production in federal waters has increased in both of the last two years. last weekend the president announced several steps the administration would take to
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expand further, responsible development of domestic energy resources. the department of interior will hold lease-sales in the gulf of mexico and alaska by mid-2012 once additional analyses have been completed. extensions will be granted to all leases granted by the deepwater extension as well as delayed leases in alaska. annual oil and gas lease-sales will be held in alaska's national petroleum reserve in the midand south atlantic coast will undergo expedited review for fuel resources. the president's actions show we are continuing to expand our domestic resources responsibly. this republican bill sun necessary. it's bad policy. it's been proposed by senator mcconnell and would force us to disregard all the lessons we learned in the tragic oil spill in the gulf of mexico a year ago. madam president, it's been many years back that i was up in alaska when the exxon valdez ran aground in the prince william
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sound and dumped tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil into this beautiful, beautiful place in our world. i was up there, and we had workers out and they were literally swabbing up the oil off of the rocks as it washed-up on the shore. they wore these yellow slickers which in no time at all were covered with this black crude oil. and the cameras were running around taking photos of the workers. and i went over to an old fellow in one of these yellow slickers who had these big swad tkelg khrogts mopping up this -- cloths mopping up this crude oil that had been dumped into this beautiful, beautiful place in prince william sound. i said to him after the cameras left do you think this is helping? he said if we didn't do anything, god would take care of this in ten years. but by putting in extra effort it will take nine years and six
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months. the point is once the spill has taken place it takes time, time for nature to restore itself if it can. in prince william sound some species of fish never returned. i don't know what will happen in the gulf of mexico. perhaps over time nature will heal this wound. i hope it does. don't we have a special responsibility as stewards of this planet, of this earth, of this nation to be careful? is it too much to ask that we engage in fuel efficiency and thoughtful energy policy rather than recklessly drill in every direction without asking the hard questions, without taking the time for an honest analysis? not only did the b.p. oil spill despoil that area, it claimed human lives. when it comes to safety and environmental responsibility, we shouldn't be cutting corners like the republican bill would do. and at the end of the day, even if they could drill every place they wanted to drill with no questions asked, it would have virtually no impact on gasoline
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prices. oil prices are set on global market, and we can't change them simply by attempting to increase oil production when it comes to only 2% of the known global reserves. given the president's recent action and our steady increase in domestic production, this bill is pointless and dangerous. for this reason, i urge my colleagues not to support it, to vote against this measure that will be offered later today. and i ask consent at this point to speak on a different topic and that it be placed at a separate place in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, it was last february that i went to byelarus. i had been invited to go to lithuania to speak to the parliament on the 20th anniversary of their independence from the soviet union and took a separate trim into minsk, byelarus in a neighboring nation because there was a political crisis. it was february, and since the presidential election in the december before, there had been
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a wholesale effort by lukashenko, the leader of byelarus, to imprison his political opponents. with so many significant events going on in the middle east, there is an understandable risk that if we lose sight of things happening in countries like byelarus. in byelarus, under alexander lukashenko, if you have the temerity to run for president or protest a fraudulent election, you'll find yourself thrown in a k.g.b. jail where you're likely going to face torture and harsh prison sentences. if this sounds like a throwback to the cold war in the soviet union, that is exactly what it is. madam president, i ask the senate be brought to order. not only is byelarus a throw bach to the worst political abuses of the old soviet era, but the government enforcers
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call themselves the k.g.b. on saturday the lukashenko regime continued its nightmare of totalitarian rule when it convicted one of the opposition presidential candidates andrew sakoff to five years in prison. mr. sanakoff had the temerity to run against the dictator lukashenko and because of that even having lost the election he's going to pay for it by spending five years in prison. this picture here, this photograph shows mr. sannikov in the defendant's cage during his trial in the byelarus capital of minsk. they put him in a cage. can anyone think of a more telling symbol of lukashenko's tyranny than a sham court decision with a k.g.b. cage? this crime? this man ran for president of his country. in december last year after nearly two decades of unchecked power, lukashenko decided he'd have an open election, in his
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words an open election. many took him at his word and decided they'd run for president. apparently lukashenko didn't care for that idea. his idea of election is no one runs against you. so he staged a sham election and then arrested five of the six presidential candidates, and more than 600 peaceful demonstrators after the election. i visited byelarus some weeks afterwards, met with the family members of these brave candidates and activists, and i've got to tell you it was a moving experience. the meetings included members of mr. sannikov's family. this is a photo which we took in the office of the u.s. consolate in minsk in byelarus. it shows constantine sannikov ali senako and lutenya. they are his son and mother. ala told me in tears that her son's arrest led to no contact
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between him and his family for weeks and they denied him a lawyer. after he was sentenced to five years in prison, she told radio liberty that she was proud of her son that she suffered so much for the sake of byelarus and the judicial system steam rolled our family. lutsina is the grandmother of the three-year-old son daniel. lukashenko decided it wasn't enough to throw this boy's father into prison. he basically said they were going to remove this boy from the family as part of the punishment they were going to impose on him for running for president in that country. not only did they arrest sannikov but they arrested his wife too. she was a journalist. even more despicably they tried to take custody of this little boy who was staying with his grandmother. what kind of insane mind is so afraid of ideas that they would go after this little boy to further punish the parents, the
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father who had the nerve to run for president, the mother who had the nerve to publish in some underground publication any article critical of lukashenko? president lukashenko's repression and totalitarian has been condemned around the world. this senate and the european parliament both passed sweeping resolutions condemning the regime, calling for new legitimate elections and release of all political prisoners. the families of detained, the senate, the european parliament and the national hockey league hall of famer pete stasney called on the independent ice hockey federation to suspend the 2014 ice hockey championship until all political prisoners are unconditional released. a dictator such as lukashenko should not be rewarded the international prestige of an event while prisoners languish in prison for simply exercising their human rights. i think it's time for the
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international criminal court prosecutor to luke into the actions of luke -- to look into these actions. i want mr. sannikov and his family to know the united states will stand by them in their effort to bring a peaceful democracy to this great nation of byelarus. we commend their bravery and let them know that they are not forgotten. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 953 which the clerk will report. tph-lz, there will be -- the clerk: motion to proceed to proceed to consideration s. 95, a bill to authorize certain outer continental shelf lease sales and for other purposes. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will
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be four hours of debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, madam president. madam president, we've been debating tax subsidies to the five big oil companies. we've eliminated -- we've limited it to just the five big oil companies even though many of the tax breaks or tax credits or deductions they receive are the same tax credits that every other big company receives: starbucks, microsoft, caterpillar, google, hollywood film producers and many other, many of the other credits look a lot like the r&d tax credit or other tax credits that all american businesses receive. well, i'm one senator who is very intrigued with the idea of looking at all of the tax breaks in the tax code. there are about $1.2 trillion a year that we spend on, we call them tax expenditures, and we
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spend them on tax breaks we think are desirable. i'm ready to look at all of them and use the money to reduce the tax rate and/or reduce the federal debt. but if we're going to talk about energy subsidies, tax subsidies, we ought to talk about all energy subsidies. senator john cornyn of texas has asked the congressional research service to do just this. it's an excellent study, and i commend senator cornyn for -- for asking for it. this is some of what it finds. according to the report, fossil fuels contribute about 78% of our energy production in 2009 and receive about 13% of the federal tax support for energy. however, during that same time, 10.6% of our energy production was from renewables and 77.7% of
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our energy tax subsidies went to renewables. so if we are to compare the substantive unit per energy, estimated federal support per million b.t.u. of fossil fuels was four cents, while support for renewable was $1.97 per million b.t.u. so federal subsidies for renewables were almost 50 times as great per unit of energy as federal subsidies for fossil fuels. and this would be the story because included within renewables is hydroelectric power. most people think of renewables as ethanol or solar or wind. so at least 50 times as great per unit of energy is the federal taxpayer support for renewable energy compared with fossil fuel energy. so why aren't we including in
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our debate subsidies for all renewables? specifically, if we're talking about big oil, why don't we talk about big wind? the senate seems an appropriate place to talk about big wind. the energy policy act of 1992 created what's called the production tax credit for energy produced using renewable resources. most of this money has gone to subsidize big wind. it's a policy that was supposed to last a few years. it's lasted two decades. today, the production tax credit for wind gives 2.1 cents for every kilowatt-hour of wind electricity produced by a wind turbine during the first ten years of operation. let's put this into a context that's current. the new shepards wind flat farm in oregon will have 338 of these wind turbines, produce enough power to run approximately 250,000 homes and will cost the american taxpayer about
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about $57 million a year in subsidies for that electricity produced. if we allocated the tax credit per home, taxpayers will be paying $2,300 over the next ten years for each of the homes served by the flat -- shepards flat wind farm in oregon. this doesn't even take into account the fact that that $1.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to this project means that big wind will have its risk of default also financed by the taxpayer. fossil fuel companies don't have that advantage. nuclear power companies don't have that advantage, even though their electricity is completely clean. no -- no sulfur, no knit row general, no mercury, no carbon. if the wind farm in oregon had to pay the risk of default up front as a fee, it would cost another $130 million. that's money out of the pockets of taxpayers.
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the total cost of the wind production tax credit over the next ten years will cost the american taxpayers more than than $26 billion. let me say that again. american taxpayers are subsidizing big wind over the next ten years by more than than $26 billion. in fact, the tax breaks for the five big oil companies that we have been debating on the floor this week actually cost less than all of the money that we give to big wind. the tax breaks for the big oil companies amount to about about $21 billion over ten years. according to the energy information administration in 2007, big wind receives an an $18.82 subsidy per megawatt hour, 25 times as much per megawatt hour as subsidies for all other forms of electricity combined. but wind is about the least
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efficient means of energy production we have. it accounts for just about 2% of our electricity. it's available only when the wind blows, which is about a third of the time. tennessee valley authority says it is reliable, even less than that, meaning you can have it when you need it. wind farms take up a huge amount of space. turbines are 50 stories high. their flashing lights can be seen for 20 miles. an unbroken line of turbines along the 21-mile appalachian highway would produce no more electricity than four nuclear reactors on four square miles of land. wind is generally strongest and land is available where the electricity isn't needed, so we have thousands of miles of new transmission lines proposed to get the energy from where it's produced to where it needs to go. those often go through conservation areas. according to the national academy of sciences, wind power is more expensive than other forms of electricity such as coal, nuclear, biomass,
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geothermal, natural gas. we haven't even talked about the fact that these farms only last about 20 years. the question is who is going to take them down. wind farms kill a lot of birds according to the american bird conservancy. they can interfere with radar systems. many of them who live near them say they are very noisy. i ask the question, if wind has all these drawbacks, is it mature technology and receives subsidies greater than any other form of energy per unit of actual energy produced, why are we subsidizing it with billions of dollars and not including it in this debate? why are we talking about big oil and not talking about big wind? i believe there are appropriate uses of temporary incentives and subsidies to help jump-start innovation and the development of new technology such as jump-starting electric cars or natural gas fleets of trucks or loan guarantees for nuclear power plants. as long as these are short term. i believe research and development is an appropriate role for the federal government,
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whether it's in recycling used nuclear fuel or finding alternative bowel fuels making crops we don't eat. i believe it's entirely appropriate for there to be research for offshore wind farms, which we don't know as much about and which might actually prove to be a useful supplement in the northeast. but my point is if we're going to debate subsidies to big oil, we ought to be debating all the energy subsidies, including those who big wind. there's a difference between the republican and the democratic plan for $4 gasoline and high energy prices. the democratic plan basically wants -- their cure for high prices is to raise the prices. they want to tax energy more. that makes energy cost more. republicans want to find more american energy and use less american energy. you might sum it up this way. republicans want to find more and use less. democrats want to find less and
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tax more. the democratic plan, according to senator schumer of new york, was never intended to talk about lowering gas prices. senator reid agreed, senator baucus agreed, senator landrieu agreed, senator begich agreed. why aren't we talking about trying to find a way to lower gasoline prices when they are $4 a gallon and going up? the republican plan is very specific. find more american oil and more american natural gas, you find that offshore where 30% of our oil and 25% of our natural gas is produced. you find it on federal lands and you find it in alaska. and then the other part of our equation is use less. we have some agreement with the obama administration on some of these ideas. there are a number of them. jump-start electric cars. senator merkley and i have a bill that is before the energy committee tomorrow to do that. i believe electrifying our cars and trucks is the single best way to reduce our dependence on
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foreign oil. there is legislation to jump-start natural gas for trucks, biofuels from crops we don't eat, fuel efficiency. all of these are various ways to use less. senator thune and senator barrasso performed a service by setting straight the record to show that the united states produces a lot of oil. we're actually the third largest oil producer in the world. so i ask this question. if less libyan oil helps raise gasoline prices -- which it did -- then more american oil should help lower gasoline prices. at least for every dollar of american oil we drill is one less dollar that we send overseas. so, madam president, the republican plan is to find more american oil and natural gas and to use less. and my suggestion is if we're going to be talking about tax subsidies for big oil, let's talk about tax subsidies for all
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energy. the senate floor seems an especially appropriate place if we're going to talk about big oil also to talk about tax subsidies for big wind. i thank the president and i yield the floor. and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presficer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum. i see the senator from kansas. i ask unanimous consent to include in the record following my remarks the report from the congressional research service to senator john cornyn of texas, dated may 16, to which i referred in my remarks.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: thank you, madam president. i rise to speak in favor of the legislation that has been introduced by my friend and our republican leader, senator mcconnell, that would take our country in the direction of greater domestic energy production and certainly robust job creation, as opposed to taxing or trying to the very people who provide our energy. madam president, as every american knows, few issues today are more critical to the american taxpayer than the price of energy. whether it's powering our homes or fueling farm equipment or filling up our cars at the pump, the price of energy directly impacts the cost of goods and operating expenses for our american producers. now, while there is a multitude of variables that impact the cost of gasoline, it's important
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we don't overlook the main factor impacting prices at the pump. and one more time for my colleagues across the aisle, that is the global supply and demand of crude. with roughly 70% of the price of gasoline and diesel that is contingent on the price of crude, it should be easy to understand that any fluctuations in global supply and demand is the most important factor determining what consumers pay at the pump. now, considering in my state alone that the only gas industry supports over 119,000 jobs and annually contributes $14 billion to the kansas economy, it's not hard to understand that much of our concerns regarding the u.s. economy and rising unemployment could be addressed, could be addressed if we stopped hindering the abilities of american energy businesses to grow and to produce. i'm sure more americans wonder
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why washington is even considering policy that is count tore an industry solely capable, solely capable and responsible for this type of job creation. sadly, sadly this is exactly the proposals floated by some of my colleagues and friends in congress and by the president. in the president's 2012 budget proposal, he proposed almost almost $90 billion worth of tax increases on the oil and gas industry. taxes at the nonpartisan congressional research service, nonpartisan, has stated could make oil and natural gas more expensive for u.s. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence. well, that didn't work in regards to the budget, they're back. complementing the president's troublesome bubble proposal last week, a number of my colleagues introduced legislation singling out u.s. oil and gas companies by removing tax expenditures
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these companies rely on to hire more american workers. develop greater amounts of needed energy. and, hello, support the millions of american investors whose i.r.a.'s and pension funds invest significantly in energy stocks. what's even worse, at least six of my colleagues across the aisle are on record at admitting that this legislation will do nothing to reduce prices at the pumps. sort of a gotcha piece of legislation. so to address american concerns about rising gas prices, my friends across the aisle have introduced legislation they readily know will not ease the price at the pump. this doesn't make any sense. in addition to the fact that the democratic energy bill won't help reduce gas prices, i want to further highlight the negative impacts it would have on american investors. now, this is important. probably the biggest distortion
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repeated in the media and some of my friends here on capitol hill is the notion that if you select -- that a few select corporate executives are the sole benefactors of record high profits enjoyed by these energy companies. well, it makes real good politics today to beat up on these people, and that's what happened in regards to the finance committee. a lot of press there. when in reality, it's the millions of middle-class american investors whose retirement plans benefit greatly from healthy profits. because these companies are publicly traded they are owned by individuals and institutional investors responsible for managing the mutual funds and i.r.a.'s and pension plans of millions of americans whose future economic security depend on the success of these companies. for example, in kansas alone, there are over 18,000 shareholders of exxonmobil. that's 18,000 of my constituents who will be hurt, angry, frustrated when they find out
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that legislation that targets citizens, investors who actually own these companies could be passed. beyond individual shareholders, many teachers, state government employees rely on strong returns on their investments in these companies. one example is the new jersey public employee pension fund, its holdings of u.s.-based integrated oil and gas companies make over 4% of its total portfolio. realizing the likelihood of a strong return on their investment, it's no wonder why so many public employee pension funds throughout the country invest heavily in energy companies. well, the good news is that the energy tax increase proposal was defeated last night, as its passage would have done absolutely nothing for reducing energy prices or helping the economic security of millions of middle-class american investors. unfortunately, the problems facing true economic growth and
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energy security don't end with misguided tax policy. in addition to making it more costly to produce domestic energy, the administration is working to close off some of our nation's most abundant sources. for example, under the current administration, the department of interior canceled 77 oil development leases in utah that were located within the larger formation, covering three states that the bureau of land management has estimated contains around 800 billion barrels of oil, more than three times the proven reserves in saudi arabia. this, of course, is in addition to the gulf of mexico deepwater drilling moratorium imposed last summer which has had a lasting negative effect on gulf coast economies. i know the president said we are going to permit these, and they can drill.
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but somehow or other you never get the permit finalized. in closing, i want to reiterate my point about the underlying economic factors which, like it or not, despite the politics, are not the driving forces behind the price of gas at the pump. as global demand prices, prices will also rise. as global demand is potentially disrupted as we see in the middle east today, then market instability follows. if we can allow greater access to our own domestic resources and provide industry the necessary tools to expand, which is exactly what leader mcconnell's energy bill will do, then we'll be able to put more americans back to work, add to the global supply of crude which over time will undoubtedly help stabilize prices. i thank you, madam president. i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today as a skpwor of the republican -- as a cosponsor of the republican leader's offshore production and safety act, s. 953. and i have to say that it's a breath of fresh air to be discussing a substantive energy policy proposal. last week in the senate finance committee and yesterday on the senate floor, we witnessed a cynical charade as some of my colleagues attempted to exploit high gas prices and as an excuse to once again raise taxes.
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it's no secret that the liberals in congress have an answer to every problem, but unfortunately it's been the same answer for every problem. whether the problem is health care costs, out-of-control spending, unemployment or high gas prices, their answer in every case is to raise taxes. the american people have caught on to the uninspired pho not ni of that -- phopb not ni of that particular message and in the last election they sent us their own message. enough with the spending and enough with the taxing. apparently though that message was not loud enough or clear enough because the big government approach remains the only option being offered by my friends on the other side. americans are fed up with lame excuses to expand the size of government. what americans want, need, and deserve are real solutions to real problems. and those problems are real.
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high gas prices are an indicator of a much deeper problem facing our nation's energy security. it's a problem that runs deep, but it's not too difficult to understand. our problem is a president who would rather buy foreign oil than produce it here in america. in fact, he not only wants to buy foreign oil, he's willing to subsidize it. these are brazilian workers, brazilian oil workers. i hope americans were watching the news as president obama handed over more than $2 billion to brazil's government-owned oil company to produce brazilian oil. it was a nice gesture, i'm sure, but why aren't we spending it here at home? and why aren't we able to drill here at home? why aren't we the third-largest drilling, or oil producer in the
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world, able to go after our own oil to bring these prices down? well, liberals just spent this last week calling basic tax deductions for american companies -- quote -- "subsidies." funny thing because those same liberals appear to have no problem with this gigantic handout of taxpayer dollars to a foreign competitor. i like brazil and i'm happy that they're doing as well as they are, so this is not a knock at brazil. it's basically a criticism of our president for giving $2 billion to help them with their oil exploration when they seem to be doing just fine by themselves. at least i'm assuming that the liberals have no problem with it because they have been deathly silent on this subject during this entire debate. so i hope americans were watching because that was their money our president was sending out of our country, out of our economy and out of the reach of
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tens of thousands of unemployed american energy workers who this administration helped to put out of work. let me just go to another chart. these are our workers. these guys are out of work. these men and women who can develop our own oil. are out of work because of this administration. we all know about the president's artificially broad moratorium on drilling in the gulf and how it has devastated that already crippled region. but the president's answered midas touch has reached out to oil regions and other parts of the country as well. since taking office, president obama has cut federal lease offerings by 67% in the rockies alone and a whopping 87% in my own home state of utah. is it any wonder we are becoming more dependent on foreign oil? is it any wonder that our jobless rate remains at historic
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levels? is it any wonder that government revenues are down? and let's not forget that this is the same president using our tax dollars to subsidize brazillian oil production to the tune of $2 billion. after taking office, one of president obama's earliest actions was to withdraw 77 energy leases in utah. these leases had been through almost a decade of environmental studies. they had jumped through every environmental hoop there was and had already been auctioned off and paid for by good-standing energy companies. you know we are dealing with a very aggressive antienergy agenda when you see leases pulled back that have already been paid for, and the energy companies are not blind. they see it, too. the recent survey of the energy industry in the rockies tells us the tragic and unnecessary
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story. due to the hostile atmosphere created by the obama administration, $1.1 billion of capital investment was shifted from the rockies to other areas including overseas. if it were not for the antienergy efforts of this administration, the companies surveyed stated they would invest an additional additional $2.8 billion in the region in the future. 89 of the energy companies surveyed said that they would continue to divert investment from the rockies until the current policies become less hostile. and 71% of the industry respondents stated that dissatisfaction with the federal permitting process is the general variable driving investment right out of our nation. when are we going to wake up? when is this administration going to wake up? some of my friends on the other side have an extremely difficult time understanding this. madam president, but when we
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deter energy companies, we kill real jobs and we kill domestic energy production and we make america weaker. these aren't just jobs. these are highly paid jobs. and yet, the brazillian oil workers, we're willing to subsidize? i like those workers. i think they are finding oil for their country. their country is i think energy sufficient because of their work offshore. well, some of those regions in the gulf can no longer be there because of the stupid policies, antienergy policies of this administration. here we have american companies willing to spend more than than $2 billion of their own money to create american jobs and american oil but president obama says no, or at least the people around him who advise him tell him to say no. yet, our president does not hesitate to give more than than $2 billion in taxpayer
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dollars to brazil to create foreign jobs. now, just wait because this story actually gets worse. the president then hopes the taxpayers will send even more money overseas as we buy brazil's oil. oil that we already have subsidized in the first case, in the first place. but the president saved the best for last. he now proposes raising taxes on american energy production. now, this deserves repeating. the president says no to american energy companies wanting to use their own profits to make more american jobs and more american oil. but he then gives away taxpayer money to subsidize foreign jobs and create more dependency on foreign oil. while he's at it, he may as well tax american energy production just for good measure.
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that's what they want to do to us. it doesn't make sense. look, i like the president. i personally am a friend of the president. i can't believe that he's doing this on his own. he's got to have these dumbbells down there at the white house feeding him this stuff. but he's bright enough to look through it and see that doesn't work. or is it just that their supporters are demanding, that the democrat supporters are just demanding this type of harm to our country and to our people? well, i said it twice and it makes less sense the more i think about it. you know, he may as well tax american energy production just for good measure. the whole farce would be comical if it weren't so incredibly harmful to our nation and our economy and to the american families who have dedicated their lives to providing the
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united states with the domestic oil and gas we so desperately need. i would like to read an excerpt of a letter i received from cindy and bruce of utah. they are from an oil-rich county, if we were allowed, got the permit to go out and find it. cindy and bruce write -- "our family returned to the vernal utah area. after being absent for ten years, we realized we loved the area "-- the presiding officer: the senator has consumed ten minutes. mr. hatch: i would ask unanimous consent i be allowed to continue. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: let me start over." our family returned to the area after being absent for ten years. we realized we loved the area and wanted to be back with our families. at that point, we decided we wanted to try to do more than just get by in life working for someone else. since things looked very promising for the oil field
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industry, we started a small oil field trucking company. we struggled to make all this work and establish a reputable company with a good customer base. in february of 2009, as the new presidential administration, the new head of the department of interior took over, the oil and gas production companies slowed their drilling and production programs drastically. the rapid economic change was shocking. overnight, we went from being a prospering business to a business that is just hoping we can pay our bills. our story is not unique. it is the same story for many of our friends, neighbors and family members. our lives and the economy here are in shambles. it's not because we did not work hard, spend wisely, follow all the government rules or that we made irresponsible decisions. it is because of sudden changes in our government." now, madam president, this was no naturally occurring economic downturn that killed bruce's and cindy's business. it was hostile government policies intent on slowing domestic energy production on federal lands. the point is made again and again to me in letters from utahans from this region.
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one letter states -- quote -- "as i talk with many people each day at work, there is one common thread. the policies of the current administration have made it a very risky business for companies trying to produce oil in this area. leases have been canceled and resold and then suspended. the confidence of the oil producers have been undermined by these actions. they have lost a lot of money on the bids for these leases." unquote. now, these experiences are duplicated wherever federal energy leases are offered. i can say that i have never seen a more antienergy administration than the current one, and all americans are feeling the pain of president obama's suicidal energy policies. well, today we're talking about a real solid energy proposal. it's a proposal that will create american jobs in the gulf and throughout america's energy industry. the offshore production and safety act is a proposal that will strengthen our nation, not weaken it. it will get us producing american oil again in the gulf, and that is a critically important goal. if i had my choice, we would be
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discussing a more comprehensive energy bill that would also be reopening oil production on onshore and offshore leases. i'm an original cosponsor of a bill with my sponsor senator david vitter called the 3-d bill. the d's stand for domestic jobs, domestic energy and deficit reduction. this bill deserves full senate consideration. it's a bill that would increase jobs, reduce energy costs and generate significant revenue to state and federal governments. in short, the bill would reverse the obama administration's onerous new constraints on domestic oil and gas production. the 3-d bill would reduce bans on some offshore federal regulations and each ownter continental shelf planning area. it would open anwr to oil production. and it would reverse president obama's recent moves against commercial oil shale production. unfortunately, we're not discussing that bill today, and here is why. the republicans have had to force the democrats' hands to
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allow debate on even a limited proposal such as the one introduced by our republican leader and well done. but this issue is in the going away. i will continue to push the issue of onshore and offshore federal leases and advocate for the 3-d bill. madam president, the bill we voted on yesterday had nothing to do with gas prices or energy policy or getting more energy. as we heard from member after member on the other side, that bill was about raising taxes for more government spending. the bill we are voting on today has a serious energy proposal. it is a smart proposal that if passed would create real jobs, produce real domestic oil and gas and lead to deficit-busting revenues for the government. as such, i strongly support it. i urge my colleagues to do the same. i hope our friends on the other side will see this. it's time we stand up and start changing this, regardless of what this administration is doing to america.
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mr. president -- madam president, thank you. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: thank you, madam president. i rise today to discuss our nation's energy policy. i was very disappointed by last night's vote. actually, as one of my colleagues pointed out, it was more political theater instead of a serious attempt at addressing this nation's energy needs. instead of investing time on votes that will not bring gas prices down, we need to do what americans expect us to do, and that's adopt a careful, all- inclusive comprehensive approach. put simply, we need to consider our assets and we need to develop those assets in a responsible way. that sounds very simple to the average person, but unfortunately it seems to elude
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us here. last night's vote on a narrow tax issue that in a very bipartisan way was recognized not to reduce the price of gas just doesn't get us headed in the right direction. if anything, it was a step backward. so today i want to take a more serious look at the energy resources we have in the united states, to lay the foundation for the argument that we need to develop these resources. energy that could represent address our nation's security as well as our economic security. now, unfortunately, we are a victim of misperception, that somehow the united states is running out of energy and that our own resources are not sufficient, but that's not true. in fact, the data tells us that the united states can be a
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dominant energy power. let me say that again. the united states can be a dominant energy player, a power in the global marketplace. and with the proper federal policies in place, the united states can step into a dominating position. now, this isn't something i dreamt up last night. this is not something mike johanns just invented. this comes directly from the congressional research service, the nonpartisan research arm of congress. so let's go through what the c.r.s. said to us in a recent report. they say the u.s. is number three in global oil production. in 2009, the u.s. produced about
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9.1 million barrels per day. now, by comparison, saudi arabia produced about 500,000 more than the united states per day at 9.8 million. and russia leads all countries at 9.9 million barrels per day. so we're number three in global production of oil behind saudi arabia and russia today. now, for an additional perspective, consider this. the united states produces more than double what iran produces and produces more than iran and china combined. looking beyond oil production, let's consider our existing assets. according to the c.r.s., the united states has 163 billion barrels of oil that is technically recoverable. that's a lot.
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and that's more than six times what the administration suggests in its favorite talking points. let's compare our oil assets to what we import from saudi arabia, a major u.s. supplier. in 2009, we imported about one million barrels per day from saudi arabia, for a total of 365 million barrels per year. so every three years at 2009 import rates, we will import just over a billion barrels of oil from saudi arabia. so the united states has enough oil to entirely replace imports from saudi arabia for a long, long time, more than 400 years. now if we shift the focus to natural gas, the u.s. has enough natural gas reserves to meet
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u.s. demand for 90 years. well, let's turn to coal. again based on c.r.s. analysis, our domestic coil resources -- our domestic coal resources are huge. in fact, the united states is number one in world coal resources. the united states has 28% of the world's coal. american recoverable coal reserves are 262 billion tons of coal. to put that in perspective, the united states consumes about 1.2 billion short tons per year. simply extraordinary. what i'm saying, madam president, is that's over 200 years' worth. then c.r.s. did something else
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interesting. they consolidated the energy resources and then ranked the united states against the rest of the world. and the united states came in at number one. and this does not include oil shale or methane hydrates. c.r.s. concluded that total fossil fuels within the united states and barrels of oil equivalent are 972.6 billion. so considering the united states leads the world in total energy resources, we need to evaluate any energy policy on whether it makes strides to use those resources in a responsible way or whether it keeps those resources on the sidelines.
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the congressional research service has debunked the myth that we are energy poor, that we have somehow consumed our resources. in fact, our nation is number one, and we are rich with resources: oil, natural gas, coal, and other resources, and lots of it. yet the president, for whatever reason, keeps using a dramatically different talking point, and it creates the wrong impression. just recently, on may 6, 2011, he said -- and i'm quoting -- "the challenge is we've got about 2% to 3% of the world's oil reserves, and we use 25% of the world's oil." unquote. the impression i think he's trying to create is that we have
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virtually no reserves, and yet we're trying to grab all of the resources. this statement seriously, if not intentionally, underestimates america's energy resources because it only relies upon proven reserves. you know, that would be like a millionaire complaining that he can't afford a $10 dinner because he's only got $5 in his pocket. here's what c.r.s. says about proven reserves -- and i'm quoting -- "proved reserves are oil, natural gas or coal that have been discovered and defined typically by drilling wells or other exploratory measures. in other words, unless you drill or otherwise explore, proven reserves never expand in -- and
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our country stays neutral." so the president's talking point completely ignores what they called undiscovered technically recoverable, the estimated american resources in those areas where exploration has not yet occurred. thus, it is no surprise what happens when we don't issue permits to explore and drill. proven reserves would never expand if you don't issue the permits. and that's the problem with this administration's approach to energy policy. they've gone out of their way to oppose utilization of american energy sources, and then they claim that somehow we've used them up. most famously, the administration supported a national energy tax called cap and trade, a bill that was intentionally designed to
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increase costs for consumers on everything from oil to gasoline we put in our cars to coal to the electricity we use. in fact, the president even admitted his policy was designed to make the prices for american consumers -- quote -- "necessarily skyrocket." unquote. now unfortunately, if not remarkably, if not completely unbelievably, that's a direct quote. and today, even after this policy has been repudiated -- the presiding officer: the senator has consumed ten minutes. mr. johanns: may i have an additional three minutes? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: and today even after this policy has been repudiated on a bipartisan basis by congress, the administration continues to march ahead with
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similar proposals at the administrative level. the administration has canceled leases across the rocky mountain west. they've blocked permits in the gulf of mexico. they've blocked permits in alaska. and while the president's announcement this weekend would appear to be a welcome recognition that o*eul oil and gas lease -- recognition that oil and gas leasing matters, it disregards the virtual lack of permits to explore. no doubt leasing is necessary, but if you don't have the permits, leasing means nothing. supply stays the same. world demand continues to increase. and no one should be surprised by the economics. no one should be surprised that this administration policy has a direct correlation to the price of gasoline you pump into your vehicle. and that's why today we are
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debating legislation that's enormously important. this bill requires the issuance of permits. it emphasizes safety and environmental responsibility. it does require spill response and coin taeupbment -- and containment plan. and it requires that we do everything that we can to try to improve supply. it says we can develop our natural resources expeditiously, but in a responsible and prudent way. it's a responsible step in the right direction. let me put this another way. we united states do not need to beg the rest of the world for energy resources. we do not have to go with cup in hand. energy is too important to our growth, to job creation.
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it is too big an issue to outsource to another country, especially the countries that don't like our policies. it is critical that we get energy policy right. gasoline prices are now over $4. that is hurting every american. it is hurting job creation. heating and cooling bills are going up. farmers see their fertilizer, their natural gas bills expand. their input costs are going through the roof. our people deserve better, and that's why i encourage my colleagues to support this important legislation. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: madam president, i have ten unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the
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majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: madam president, i rise today, as i try to on a regular basis, to honor another one of our great federal employees. in the great empire state of new york there are literally thousands of folks who oftentimes work anonomously to make sure that day in and day out our federal government functions. this is a service, a recognition that i took over from our colleague, senator ted kaufman after he served here in the senate, and i'm proud to continue this tradition where on a regular basis we come forward and honor one of those federal employees who contributes to making our nation safer, making our nation more efficient, allowing many of us in america
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to enjoy the benefits of our country, oftentimes, again, without a lot of recognition. the individual that i'm recognizing today is robert harris who is the deputy legal advisor at the united states state department. mr. harris has played a critical role in advancing american foreign policy around the world. he has served as the lead negotiator on several important bilateral and multilateral agreements, on antiterrorism, extradition and global environmental protection. he also provides advice on issues ranging from treaties to law enforcement and intelligence. but it is mr. harris' work to advance human rights around the world that sets him apart. in recent kwraoerbgs the united states -- years the united states had fallen out of compliance with five global human rights treaties, making it difficult for our nation's
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diplomats to press other nations to fulfill their human rights obligations, something that i know the presiding officer has a particular interest in. mr. harris oversaw five major reports documenting u.s. human rights activities and got our country back on track with the rest of the world. mr. harris is also the leading u.s. -- leading u.s. delegation in the u.s.-china legal experts dialogue which provides an opportunity for both countries to exchange expertise and discuss reforms and a variety of issues. mr. harris successfully engaged the chinese to implement an existing law, an existing chinese law that reduces prison terms and to more frequently grant parole to individuals serving for nonviolent offenses, again advancing human rights in china. michael kozak, a senior aide at the state department comment that had phr-r phr* harris' -- commented that mr. harris
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advances had done more for human rights than any previous dialogue i had ever seen. mr. harris supervises the legal team that supported the president's signature on the united nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2009 and guided the administration's legal approach to handling the united nations conference on racism. more recently he led u.s. and international efforts at the u.n. to prosecute pirates engaged off the coast of somalia. as a 25-year veteran of the state department, robert harris' contributions have gone a long way to advance america's foreign policy and preserve our nation's record as a leader in human rights. i hope my colleagues will join me in thanking him for his service. again, mr. president, as you see me on this floor, and i know you share this commitment to those federal employees who work in the great state of minnesota, too often when we have our political dialogues here, when
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we get sometimes cavalier attitudes towards shutting down our nation's government and the economic consequences it would have on the overall economy and the private sector, also the consequences it would have on literally the hundreds of thousands of great americans who serve us as federal employees; today we take a moment to celebrate mr. harris' services, particularly in the area of human rights. i think it is a record of service that we can all be proud of. and he like so many other federal kpwhraoerbgs we sometimes -- federal employees, we sometimes come down here and have a tendency to trash the federal government, i sometimes believe we do that at the expense of those people who work oftentimes for less pay, a lot of hours and without a lot of recognition. in this small way we're trying to recognize mr. harris and others who serve our government day in and day out. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum c


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